Thumbnail image of: Pronation and Supination: Illustration


What is over-pronation?

Normally, when you walk or run, your heel is the first part of your foot to strike the ground. As your body weight shifts to the middle of the foot, the arch of the foot naturally flattens out a bit. This flattening is called pronation. If your feet flatten more than normal, it’s called over-pronation or flat feet. Over-pronation can cause many problems, such as an Achilles tendon injury or heel pain. It may lead to knee problems.

What is the cause?

Over-pronation may happen because the tissue that attaches to your foot bones is loose. You may be born with this problem or it may result from injuries or overuse, like from too much running.

What are the symptoms?

Over-pronation can cause pain in your arch, heel, shin, ankle, knee, hip, or back.

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms, medical history, and activities and examine your feet. Your provider may:

  • Watch you walk or run
  • Check the motion of your feet when they strike the ground
  • Look at your athletic shoes to see if they show an abnormal pattern of wear

How is it treated?

Over-pronation and the problems that go with it are treated with shoe inserts called arch supports or orthotics. You can buy orthotics at a pharmacy or athletic shoe store or they can be custom made. Make sure the arch supports are firm. If you can easily bend them in half, they may be too flexible.

How can I take care of myself?

Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Ask your provider what symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them.

How can I help prevent over-pronation?

Over-pronation is usually caused by a problem with your feet that you were born with. Wearing orthotics in your shoes may help prevent problems from over-pronation.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2013-08-05
Last reviewed: 2013-07-19
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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